Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Haleiwa Sprint Tri 2010 Race Report
Two down, sports fans. Two triathlons in under a month, how does that sounds, huh? Sounds to me like going from zero to a lot pretty quick. And I'm happy I did it like that. There's no better way to learn something than to do it over and over. And now, it being November and all, the triathlon season has ended. This gives me time to start building a more solid base going into next year (and I do have plans for next year, which I will get to later).
This tri started different from the last. And I mean right away. My stomach, which was near perfect for Ko'Olina, was not happy at 4am Sunday. I'm sure it was a combination of nerves and eating a little too much of the veggie pasta the night before. Either way, it was not a happy morning for the Dirtbag tummy. This is something that sometimes must be suffered through. It always goes away once the event starts. It's the waiting that sucks.
The swim was a 400m open water mass start. I'm going to say that last part again for those of you who need things repeated. Mass start. Every single athlete competing started at the same time. All 153 of us sprinting towards that first buoy. It was a madhouse. Arms and elbows and feet and hands everywhere. Splashing, kicking, pulling and sometimes grabbing. I'm pretty sure I elbowed someone in that opening sprint. Not on purpose, they just got too close to my stroke and got to feel the power of the Tattooed Wake as a result. (That's right, my nickname has a swimming-specific nickname. What?)
The swim course was a triangle from one point on the beach, right turn around a buoy, straight to another buoy, right turn, back to the beach. A lot of people started near the exit, which didn't make sense to me because Mr. Pythagorean says that means they are swimming further. So I joined the clever people down the beach. I had a straight shot at the first buoy. This helped me be in the front third of the people making the turn. I got a little off track from buoy two to the beach and swam slightly further than I should have. Have to keep popping the head up to sight on the cones at the beach and that slows you down. But the swim was still pretty good.
As you might be able to tell from the picture, there was quite a run from the swim exit to the transition area. My T1 went alright. I could be faster. Practice practice.
I got out on the bike and got to getting. It felt better than Ko'Olina almost immediately. Factors contributing to this are the lack of swim-run-swim-run tired and experience. I set off in the front third of the cyclists and, just like last time, was promptly passed by slower swimmers but much better cyclists. This was expected. What was not expected was that I managed to hold my own in a small group that eventually formed around me.
The ride was three laps through Haleiwa town, with the roads blocked to traffic. It's not a difficult route by any means and I rode it a few times prior to the race to familiarize myself with it. I would get passed but I passed plenty of people as well. Sure, a lot of them were Cruiser division guys on their single speeds, but still. What ended up happening by lap three was a group of three or four guys, myself included gathered. We started doing the I pass you, you pass me back, we both pass a slower guy, etc...thing. It was kind of fun and I'm sure it made me faster. I've never ridden in a group before. So I'd say a race is a good time to start. Yeah?
T2 was also just ok. Slower again than I would have liked.
I set off on the run feeling like my pace was not where it should be. I just felt like my quick feet weren't all that quick. Nothing from there on out happened to change my mind. The entire run was off road and nearly the entire run was on a trail of sticks, rocks, and sand. Normally this would not be any problem. I run in Vibram Fivefinger KSOs. There is very little between me and the ground. Not that I'm complaining. I love my shoes and wouldn't trade them for anything. It's just that a few times I thought to myself, "Oh, going to remember that rock tomorrow." And I did.
The last mile of the race was on the sand coming back to the park. I'd like you to go to the beach and go for a run. I'll wait...
Back? Ok, good. Hard, innit it? Yeah, sure is. Screws with your stride, your cadence, and your head. Running in soft sand will suck your will to live if you let it. I'm happy to say I never stopped running. I criss-crossed the beach looking for more solid lines and running on rock slabs and fighting through that. This whole time I was passing one or two people and being passed by one or two (or three or maybe four) people.
Like Ko'Olina, I finished as hard as I could. I really didn't feel as muscle tired as I would have liked though. I think if the run had been on solid ground or a more traditional track I would have done better and felt it more. Not to say I didn't feel it. I just think it could have been harder. Or maybe I should have dug deeper during the run...could be it too.
I finished 71st overall, 13th in my division of 23, with better cycle and run pace times than last time. I'm not complaining about anything. I'm very happy with the outcome and can't wait to tri again. (Get it? Ha, I'm so funny!)
Tomorrow or the next day I'll post my thus far plans for next year and will continue to track my workouts. I'll probably get back on the bike some time this week, unless Obi Tri wants it back tomorrow. Then I won't ride until I get Kratos all sorted out. A run is also forthcoming.
Thanks for reading, thanks for all your support!